A 20-year-old man was shot in the Ballpark neighborhood of Salt Lake City early Sunday morning, prompting Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown to reassure residents that local authorities have made protecting that area a priority.
“The people living in the Ballpark neighborhood were rocked from bed during a shooting that for them likely seemed to last forever,” he said. “I want to address the safety concerns in this neighborhood. The Salt Lake City Police Department is committed to doing everything we can to keep the Ballpark neighborhood safe.”
Police shut down Main Street for a time Sunday after responding to calls of multiple gunshots near 485 S. Major St. around 5:28 a.m. A person with bullet wounds was found hiding behind a car and was transported by ambulance to a hospital in critical condition. After he underwent surgery, doctors declared him stable, SLCPD spokesperson Brent Weisberg said.
“I want to thank our officers,” Brown said. “They responded to a chaotic scene, and as they arrived, they could hear the shots ringing out.”
Officers pinpointed several crime scenes. Bullet casings and other evidence were found over “several blocks,” Brown said. He declined to say on which blocks bullet casings were found. However, the window was shot out of a vacant shop on the corner of Kensington Avenue and Major Street, about a mile from where the victim was found.
In addition to at least one building hit by bullets, at least one car was hit as well.
Initial investigations, Brown said, indicate that a fight had broken out during a party and that led to the shooting. He said the motive is unknown.
Several people at the party and possibly involved in the shooting left when officers arrived, Brown said. He asked that anyone with information on the shooting contact the SLCPD at 801-799-3000. A post Sunday evening on the department’s Twitter account said police were seeking information on a white Audi A6 with the license plate 5U4UT in connection with the Ballpark shooting.
“The people living, working and visiting this neighborhood deserve to feel safe,” Brown said. “No one in our community should ever have to explain to their child that the sound, the loud sound, of popping noises that they woke up to were the sounds of gunfire. I know there are people living in the Ballpark neighborhood who are worried about their safety. And I want you to know I hear their concerns.”
Crime in the area dropped some in 2021 compared with the three previous years, according to a Salt Lake Tribune report, but violent crimes were up last year. Between 2016 and 2020, the neighborhood averaged three homicides a year. Salt Lake City police reported seven in 2020 and five in 2021.
Brown outlined several initiatives the SLCPD has taken to reduce crime in the area. Regular patrols have increased and the Liberty Bike Squad “is spending most of their patrol time there,” he said. A district community liaison officer is in frequent contact with the Ballpark Community Council, and officers are directed to patrol the area between calls.
“What happened early this morning is not reflective of this neighborhood or the people living there,” Brown said. “This neighborhood is one of the city’s most vibrant places to live, work and visit. This shooting is unacceptable.”